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From Middle English bityden [and other forms];[1] from bi- (prefix forming verbs, usually with a completive, figurative, or intensive sense)[2] + tyden (to come about, happen, occur; to befall, become of, happen to (someone); to be the fate of (someone); to await (someone); to fare, get along);[3] tyden is derived from Old English tīdan (to befall, betide, happen), related to tīd (time; season; hour) (both ultimately either from Proto-Indo-European *deh₂- (to divide, share) or *dī- (time)) + -an (suffix forming the infinitive of most verbs).[4] The English word is analysable as be- +‎ tide ((obsolete) to happen, occur).



betide (third-person singular simple present betides, present participle betiding, simple past and past participle betid or betided) (dated, literary)

  1. (transitive) Often used in a prediction (chiefly in woe betide) or a wish: to happen to (someone or something); to befall.
  2. (intransitive) Chiefly in the third person: to happen; to take place; to bechance, to befall.
    Synonyms: (archaic) betime, come to pass, occur, (obsolete) tide, transpire; see also Thesaurus:happen
    • c. 1593 (date written), [William Shakespeare], The Tragedy of King Richard the Third. [] (First Quarto), London: [] Valentine Sims [and Peter Short] for Andrew Wise, [], published 1597, →OCLC, [Act I, scene iii]:
      If he were dead what would betide of me.
    • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii], page 2, column 1:
      [W]ipe thou thine eyes, haue comfort, / The direfull ſpectacle of the wracke which touch'd / The very vertue of compaſſion in thee: / I haue with ſuch prouiſion in mine Art / So ſafely ordered, that there is no ſoule / No not ſo much perdition as an hayre / Betid to any creature in the veſſel / Which thou heardſt cry, which thou ſaw'ſt ſinke: []
    • 1764, “Onuphrio Muralto”, chapter III, in William Marshal [pseudonym; Horace Walpole], transl., The Castle of Otranto, [], Dublin: [] J. Hoey, [], published 1765, →OCLC, page 80:
      The death of my ſon betiding while my ſoul was under this anxiety, I thought of nothing but reſigning my dominions, and retiring for ever from the ſight of mankind.
    • 1904, “God Will Take Care of You”, Civilla Durfee Martin (lyrics), Walter Stillman Martin (music):
      Be not dismayed whate'er betide, / God will take care of you; / Beneath his wings of love abide, / God will take care of you.


Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ bitīden, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ bi-, pref.(2)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  3. ^ tīden, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  4. ^ Compare “betide, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2020; “betide, v.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.